Mixed reactions greet announcement that Matt LeBlanc is new Top Gear co-host

Puzzled petrolheads and Friends fans alike have offered a distinctly mixed reaction to news that Matt LeBlanc will host hit UK motorsport series Top Gear. The BBC announced on Thursday, February 4 that the American actor will join Chris Evans in the hot seat for show’s 23rd series. Best known for playing Joey Tribbiani in […]

Puzzled petrolheads and Friends fans alike have offered a distinctly mixed reaction to news that Matt LeBlanc will host hit UK motorsport series Top Gear.

The BBC announced on Thursday, February 4 that the American actor will join Chris Evans in the hot seat for show’s 23rd series.

Best known for playing Joey Tribbiani in Friends, and its spin-off, Joey, LeBlanc has been viewed as a surprise choice – although not one without merit. The 48-year-old proved his credentials when, as a guest in 2012, he set the show’s current record for the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment, driving a Kia Cee’d.

“As a car nut and a massive fan of Top Gear, I’m honoured and excited to be a part of this iconic show’s new chapter,” said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc marks the first time a non-British host has been employed in Top Gear‘s 39-year history, which commentators claim betrays a fresh conviction from producers to spread the brand into North American.

Twitter user @ajmy said: “This #MattLeBlanc thing on #TopGear seems like an April’s fool designed to generate publicity and / or draw in US audience.”

Cameraman @JBoasty added: “Can #mattleblanc even present? Does he even like cars? Seems odd @BBC #topgear. Sounds like desperate American sales tactics to me!”

@mattalexanderuk joked: “#topgear first episode – ‘The one where Joey can’t pronounce Porsche’.”

Despite the jibes, the presence of such a familiar face is likely to help boast Top Gear‘s appeal to those who have little interest in motoring.

Fan @_LizzieA 7m7 said: “What?! #MattLeBlanc joins #TopGear might watch new series.”

@mandbristol said: “#MattLeBlanc presenting #TopGear. I like it. How YOU doin?”

@LizJarvisUK added: “Will actually watch #TopGear for #mattleblanc. The other bloke, not so much.”

Following Evans’s earlier appointment, LeBlanc marks the second major star to join the show after the high-profile sacking of longterm Jeremy Clarkson last year, with co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond also departing. The BBC have promised more presenters will be announced shortly.

Evans added: “Matt’s a lifelong fellow petrolhead and I’m thrilled he’s joining Top Gear. Acting out our craziest car notions on screen is a dream job and I know we’ll both be debating some epic road trip ideas.”

Clarkson has not disappeared off the scene just yet. He is making a new series about cars for Amazon Prime, a new streaming service. He is taking May and Hammond along for the ride. Amazon said that the as-yet unnamed show will be broadcast next year.

rgarratt@thenational.ae

Source: art & life

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